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Genesis/meaning of lyrics of song ripples


Taedhe wrote at 2009-04-27 09:06:48
Michael Rutherford composed most, if not all, of the lyrics of this song. I read a copy of an interview in a book about them that was published in the early 1980s in which he stated that he'd originally written some lewd lyrics to the song where is written "Blue girls come in every size" because that's what he though of at the time.

He said he did not wish to break the creative flow, so he went back later after he completed it and saw that "Blue girls come in every size" was exactly what he needed, so he changed them.

And, the intent was always British schoolgirls wearing the uniforms required.

disjt wrote at 2013-07-02 08:22:33
Dear Steve,

I TOTALLY agree about "Ripples", "Entangled" and "Mad Man Moon" being my favourite alltime Genesis best tracks ever. Thanks for your lyrics explanation!



Me me me wrote at 2013-08-06 22:50:38
I think it's about Gabriel leaving. His first album was all blue/grey, and his eyes on it painted in a blue/white. Also the line, "angels never know it's time/To close the book and gracefully decline" could be a reference to the rather bitter tone of "Solsbury Hill." But having said that, I think it's a gorgeous song that could be read any way you like. Certainly it is redolent of ageing and sadness. Lovely music.  

Frankie Mnemonic wrote at 2015-08-25 14:58:08
I speculate this meaning:

Blue girls is a sad/sensitive girl (blue is used in english to say "melancholy"). So the song is about a bluegirl that discover an episode of unfaithfulness of his partner. (the phrase "..For an hour a man may change..")  And with the phrase "..that it's the last time you'll look like today" (to her eyes) .. the lyrics tell us that she get very deluded by the situation.

The remainder of the lyric is the way whereby the man try to explain her that its behaviour was just a small momento of his weakness.  For this use the "pool example" ... with waves that goes in the "other side" ...and its "ripples never come back". A way ask her to forget ... because he will not fall in those behaviours anymore.  

michelle rowan wrote at 2016-04-01 09:30:49
I think the original answer at the top is just pure speculation and fantasy.  I can't find any credible source to back up that lewd interpetation.

David Smith wrote at 2016-10-15 19:16:46
My thought has always been, this song is about how beauty (or youth) comes to pass. "Ripples never come back" is a pleasant way of saying growing up is a one way street and we can never return to our youth.

"Sail away" is (to me) looking behind us as we grow older. Thanks for letting me share my thoughts on one of my very favorite songs on one of my favorite albums.  

Dave wrote at 2016-12-05 17:46:16
Its based on a John Crowe Ranson poem called Bluegirls

Steve Justice wrote at 2017-01-15 11:53:45
John Crowe Ransom

Blue Girls

Twirling your blue skirts, travelling the sward

Under the towers of your seminary,

Go listen to your teachers old and contrary

Without believing a word.

Tie the white fillets then about your hair

And think no more of what will come to pass

Than bluebirds that go walking on the grass

And chattering on the air.

Practice your beauty, blue girls, before it fail;

And I will cry with my loud lips and publish

Beauty which all our power shall never establish,

It is so frail.

For I could tell you a story which is true;

I know a woman with a terrible tongue,

Blear eyes fallen from blue,

All her perfections tarnished -- yet it is not long

Since she was lovelier than any of you.  


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I`ve collected many books and music (alot of bootleg stuff) from Genesis, as well as about 30 different bands. As well as the Beatles, Genesis has always been a favorite of mine. Please ask my anything you can think of concerning the band.


   I started listening to Genesis back in the mid 70's from my brother, who is 11 years older than I. In the 80's, when I was in my teens, I listened to the current music at the time, but I always enjoyed my classic prog-rock upbringing. During the 90's and this decade, my favorite music has remained my earliest.

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